What Gotabaya’s Presidency will mean for Tamil politics and development in Sri Lanka

Writing for The Wire India, Mario Arulthas, Advocacy Director for PEARL, and Dr Madura Rasaratnam, professor of Comparative Politics at the City University of London, rebuke the argument that parliamentary elections indicate “a complete overhaul” of the political system with turn away from “Tamil nationalist politics and towards development”; instead they provide a more nuanced analysis that highlights that the “fundamentals of Sri Lanka’s politics will likely remain unchanged”.

Pandara Vanniyan - 'Last King of Vanni' - remembered in the Tamil homeland

The 217th victory day of Pandara Vanniyan, the last sovereign of the Vanni chieftaincy was commemorated last month with fanfare across the Tamil homeland in the North-East. Proceedings began early morning in Vavuniya in the presence of Urban Council Chairman E. Gowthaman who also organised the event last month. People gathered to pay respects to the statue of the chieftain who ruled the Vanni region in the 18th century. Known as the 'Last King of Vanni', he died fighting colonial rule by the Dutch and British. They decorated Pandara Vanniyan’s statue with garlands and ceremonially showered...

Body of Tamil man found in Vavuniya home

The body of a 75-year-old Tamil man was discovered in Kanagarayankulam area of Vavuniya last month, in what police suspect may have been a murder. The Sri Lankan police in Kanagarayankulam were informed that a body had been lying in the vicinity of one of the houses in the neighbourhood and subsequently arrived to conduct an investigation. The police identified the deceased as K. Indrakumar and are conducting an investigation suspecting murder due to the severe bruises that were found on the body.

Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka criticises US for recent sanctions

The Chinese Embassy in Colombo criticised the US governments’ recent sanctions that ban over 20 Chinese companies from buying American products and called sanctions on countries including Sri Lanka “unilateral and unjust”. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy told reporters, “In recent years, the US has been abandoning multilateralism, and imposed dozens of unilateral sanctions on different countries including China, Sri Lanka and even its own allies, with typical hegemonic logic and power politics, which are strongly objected by the international community.” “Such unilateral and unjust...

More monks appointed to all-Sinhala Task Force on Archaeology in East

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed four more monks to the all-Sinhala Task Force on Archaeological Management in the East, as concerns continue over the He stated that the guidance of the monks would be needed due to the significance of the sites in Sinhala Buddhism. An official gazette from Rajapaksa claimed that “since many of the Archeological Heritages in the Eastern Province are based on the Buddhist religious background and associated with those places of worship, it has been recognized that the guidance and patronage of the Venerable Maha Sangha is still needed in the...

Jaffna University lecturer remains detained despite acquittal from forced LTTE recruitment charges

Jaffna University music lecturer and former LTTE cadre Kanesasundaram Kannadasan, has been remanded under the heavily disputed Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), despite the Court of Appeal (CoA) overturning a life sentence last year. Kannadasan was charged for allegedly recruiting "child soldiers" and facilitating forced abductions and awaits a retrial hearing next week. The former director of Tamil Eelam College of Fine Arts had his life sentence quashed on the 22 nd July 2019, following two years of appeals and even though the media reported that he was released on the day, this was proved...

Sri Lankan president looks to expand powers as cabinet endorses 20th Amendment 

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a new constitutional amendment that will see the presidential office of Gotabaya Rajapaksa expand its role and the scaling back of constitutional checks and balances on executive power. The proposed 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, which is to be debated by Sri Lanka’s parliament in the coming days, was gazetted on Wednesday evening. Attorney General Dappula de Livera remarked that in order to be enacted it will require a two-thirds majority in parliament - a requirement the Rajapaksa regime achieved in last month’s parliamentary polls. Changes...

Canadians march over 400 km in solidarity with families of the disappeared

Canadian Tamils gathered in Brampton’s City Hall to begin the “Walk for Justice,” where 5 dedicated men began their walk to Ottawa’s parliament hill to call for an international investigation into Tamil disappearances in Sri Lanka. This is in solidarity with families of the disappeared who are making the same demand of the UN Human Right’s Commissioner. Read more here: Families of disappeared urge international community to fulfil ‘last wish’ of investigating Tamil genocide The five men began their walk last Sunday and will be walking for a total of 150 hours, spanning 14 days and 424...

Gender + Activism - PEARL speaks with Sivakami Rajamanoharan and Roshni Raveenthiran

Speaking with People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), both Sivakami Rajamanoharan, PEARL’s senior Advocacy Officer and former Tamil Guardian Editor-in-Chief, as well as Roshni Raveenthiran, a Tamil educator and community organiser, delivered an enlightening discussion on the role of female Tamil activists; the difficulties they face; and the means of by which the Tamil community can empower women. Entering Tamil spaces Commenting on how she got involved in the Tamil political space, Rajamanoharan notes, that from a very early age she grew up with people in her house constantly...

More militarisation as Sri Lankan army looks to expand involvement in agriculture in North

Jaffna District Army Commander, Major General Senarath Bandara, recently told media representatives, that the army are ready to cooperate within the Northern province for agriculture, Virakesari reported. This is the latest example of the Sri Lankan military's approach to embed and normalise the process of militarisation, despite the armed conflict ending over a decade ago. The North and East remains heavily militarised with military involvement encroaching on all aspects of civilian life. According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report in 2018, the Sri Lankan military "occupy private land...

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